Networking & Giving Back…

Over the years working in the transportation and customer service industry, I’ve met many wonderful people from diverse backgrounds with their own unique talents and skills.

I still remember my HR Professor telling me that one of the most important skills to have to be successful in HR is the ability to network and create relationships with people.  It’s so true and to this day I’ve continued that practice.  But this practice is not exclusive to the HR profession, but rather, works in every industry.  In most cases, it’s the people you know that will be ones that will open the doors for you either in your career or in your personal life.

Having said that, it is important to maintain these relationships as it can foster new ones.  Be open to giving back to those that are needing help.  In our busy lives we sometimes forget how we got to where we are and most often it was through the help of others, mentors, coaches and peers.  I’m truly blessed in being given the opportunity to share my knowledge and be able to provide a valuable contribution to the companies I’ve worked for.  In gaining new insight and knowledge, I make sure to share that with my peers and colleagues.

One of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced is seeing the people I’ve helped achieve their career goals and aspirations.  I feel that their success is also mine.  The feeling of satisfaction and knowing that you’ve made a difference in their lives in a positive way is truly remarkable.  For the last several years, I’ve volunteered my time in mentoring young professionals develop their career and put them on the right path to reach their targets.  I’ve also been a guest speaker to many high schools and colleges to speak on various topics from job hunting, career development and working with diversity to name a few.  So, if you happen to have an hour or two each month to coach and mentor, I strongly encourage you to do it.  It’s a small way in giving back and helping others identify their strengths and working on improving their limitations in transforming them to a confident professional.  I still remember a popular motivational speaker say, “A lot of people went further than they thought they could, because someone else thought they could” (Zig Ziglar).

So the moral of the story is: be thankful for what you have, be humble to what you know, be open to helping others achieve their goals and dedicate yourself to continuous and ongoing learning.

Happy trails!

The Legalization of Marijuana…an HR Perspective

The inevitable has come.  It wasn’t long ago that the thought of marijuana being legal in Canada seemed far-fetched, but reality is that it is here and will likely be one of the hot topics in HR.

Having said that, let’s talk about it.  What is your company’s view and take on marijuana or should I say, “medicinal marijuana” use and its potential effect on your workforce.  It’s not as clear cut as it used to be and HR professionals should have clear guidelines in discussing workplace policy when it comes to this topic.

First, does your company have a policy in place with regard to medicinal marijuana?  Second, if one is not present, should you have one?  Third, if you do have one or at least plan on creating one, how should it be presented?

Our company recently just created a policy on medicinal marijuana and it’s a good idea for companies to have.  Not only are you setting clear expectations and guidelines on your workers, but more importantly will protect your company from any risks and exposure.

The need to create this policy was a necessity.  Because our industry is in the transportation and supply chain one, we truly wanted to be clear in our stance to protect our drivers (which makes up more than half our employees) and also protect public safety.  Our policy clearly states that no driver is to operate a commercial vehicle while under the influence.  It continues and further states that anyone under prescribed medications (medicinal marijuana), must be first cleared by a physician before returning to duty.  We approached this topic from a safety standpoint and clearly maintains an objective tone.  Be careful on the wording as well, and ensure that the policy does not discriminate individuals with an illness.  Every company has the duty to accommodate its employees to the point of undue hardship.

But this does not necessarily mean, that only transportation companies have one; all companies should have a policy in place.  It’s a best practice.

With this said, expect changes to happen with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and in addressing workplace hazards.

So, are you ready?

Rewards, Recognition & Engagement doesn’t have to be expensive…

Recognizing, engaging and rewarding your employees can be done cheaply and is a powerful tool to motivate and retain your people.

When was the last time you were recognized for a job well done?  Do you ever remember leaving work with a sense of achievement and pride?  Recognizing, rewarding and engaging employees are key elements to a successful retention plan and an excellent method in motivating employees.

The saying goes, “a happy employee is a productive one”; more often than not, this is a valid statement.  More and more companies are now focusing their efforts in engaging their employees and rewarding those that perform well.  This type of movement or thought have been around for a very long time but it’s come at the forefront of HR trends and have become strategic in a sense that it’s tied into the culture of the organization.

This have become an integral piece of the HR puzzle.  New positions and roles within the organization have been created such as “Total Rewards Manager”, “Employee Engagement Officer”, to promote this very practice.  With industries that are suffering due to shortage of skills and personnel, retention have become pivotal.  In addition, larger companies that want to protect their intellectual capital seek ways in making their top performers happy, engaged, motivated, but most importantly: loyal.

Why do we do this?  Why should companies set aside resources for the promotion of such practices?  There are many answers.  Some include psychological aspects, motivational theory, retention, increase productivity, removing complacency and reigniting drive, passion and autonomy to the work; resulting in a healthy profitable organization.

But it doesn’t have to be expensive.  It’s as simple as getting a pat on the back for a job well done.  Recognition doesn’t have to mean a name on a plaque distributed at a company banquet dinner; it could be as simple as getting a personal thank you message from the President or Manager.  A dinner and a movie voucher for reaching targets or giving allowing an employee to leave work early is satisfactory.  But one of the best ways I’ve seen a company recognizing their employee(s) is the VIP Parking of the Month Award where the employee’s name is put on a designated parking spot closest to the entrance door and maybe even a parking spot beside the President or VP.  With all this said, the most important aspect we should not miss is the genuine appreciation of the employee and their efforts.

The Transformation of Recruitment

I’m not really a blogger nor have I taken the time two write about my experiences in either my personal or professional life.  But my youngest sister is an avid writer and suggested that I start writing as I apparently have much to contribute in the world of blogging as it relates to my professional life.

So here goes… as this is my first blog, I wasn’t sure what to blog about?  But my sister advised me to keep it simple and write something about what I’m passionate for or a topic that I am an SME on.  From all the topics I can think of: Recruiting was the one facet of HR that I felt strongly about.

I started in HR over a decade ago and for the most part included recruiting as part of my role.  Throughout this time I’ve noticed transformation.  In all my years and after all the countless resumes (I’ve probably perused over 500 if not more), the process still remains; that is, creating a job ad, advertising the ad, generating an applicant pool, shortlisting your candidates, selecting individuals for interviews, again shortlisting your interview pool, until you narrow down your selection to either top 2 or 3.  From there, you subject them to further screening, perhaps including some sort of tests (i.e. behavioral, cognitive, psychological etc.) to narrow the search.  At the end you hire the successful candidate; put him/her in on an orientation and the the cycle is complete.

Now your typical recruiting function and process have stayed the same for the most part, but recruiting specifically in transportation and logistics which I have worked in for almost my entire career have dramatically transformed.  Your typical recruiter is no longer tied and stuck in the office; rather, they are more like Sales Agents or Salespeople where they must actively be recruiting on the road; meeting with candidates, attending job fairs; visiting truck shops and the list goes on.  Because of the shortage of drivers we are faced with; every single transportation company are all competing for the same drivers.  What must one do to separate themselves from the rest?  You can only do so much.  It’s a driver’s market.  They dictate the terms and you know what?  Either the carriers or companies accommodate those requests or they see their truck sit idle and loads remain in the yard.

Recruiting in this industry is crucial.  Where a Recruiter before was an entry level job; now have become an intermediate to senior level positions.  With this said, compensation for these roles have spiked and I’ve seen many comp packages where it is no longer your typical annual salary, but rather includes a base, recruiting bonus (# of hires in a week/month equates to monetary value if certain targets are met), company car and fuel allowance etc.  In other words, companies are now looking to hire Sales Managers with a recruiting background.  Or those individuals, that can bring their portfolios over; not business portfolios but drivers that will follow him/her to their next employer.

So, do you have an effective Recruiter?  Are you looking for one?  Now you have a small insight into the role and function.

Ramon Calanza, CHRL, CCLP

Now Hiring Sales Manager

First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Welcome everyone! I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learned over the years and hoping you can find something useful to use and some valuable take-aways from my blogs. The purpose is to share my knowledge and insight in many areas of HR.  I’m not one to say that I am expert or know everything.  I am a student for life and dedicated to continuous and ongoing learning.  Please enjoy my blogs, and I hope to share some useful tips along the way.